The best place to get up-to-date visa information is the Guatemalan government website (, although the site is mainly in Spanish. No visa is currently needed for citizens of the US, Canada, Australia, the UK or other EU nationals for stays up to 90 days. Passports need to be valid for at least six months from date of entry.

Health and Safety

Guatemala has one of the highest crime rates in the world, although tourists are normally only the victim of petty crimes. In the case of a mugging, give them whatever they ask for to ensure your personal safety. It is a good idea to carry small denominations to hand over and not to resist, as they will typically flee as soon as they gain anything. It is easy to avoid this opportunistic crime by staying away from dangerous areas and situations.

Don’t venture off the beaten path around Peten, where there is illegal trade activity. Otherwise, all the normal attractions including Tikal are safe for visitors. It is better to go with an organized tour group especially when climbing the volcanoes since bandits prey on isolated locations. Poor districts of Guatemala City should be avoided at night.

Carjacking is another prevalent crime, which makes travel by mini-bus safer than renting a car. Driving can be dangerous as many of the roads have potholes, and the mountainous paths are windy. The locals drive very fast despite many accidents.

Malaria is not present in Guatemala City and Antigua Guatemala, but it is known to exist in rural areas below 5,000 ft. If you intend to visit one of these areas, it is recommended you take malarial medicine four to eight weeks before your arrival. Also recommended are routine vaccinations for MMR, DPT, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and rabies.